The Economists' Hour
The story of the economists who championed the rise of free markets and fundamentally reshaped the modern world.
As the post-World War II economic boom began to falter in the late 1960s, a new breed of economists gained in influence and power. Over time, their ideas curbed governments, unleashed corporations and hastened globalization.
Their fundamental belief? That governments should stop trying to manage the economy.
Their guiding principle? That markets would deliver steady growth and broad prosperity.
But the economists’ hour failed to deliver on its premise. The single-minded embrace of markets has come at the expense of economic equality, of the health of liberal democracy, and of future generations. Across the world, from both right and left, the assumptions of the once-dominant school of free-market economic thought are being challenged, as we count the costs as well as the gains of its influence.
Both accessible and authoritative, exploring the impact of both ideas and individuals, Binyamin Appelbaum’s The Economists’ Hour provides both a reckoning with the past and a call fora different future.
In the media
This thoroughly researched, comprehensive, and critical account of the economic philosophies that have reigned for the past half century powerfully indicts them.
Publisher Weekly (starred)
The wider story of the market-centric worldview provides the meat of Appelbaum’s narrative . . . The fact that such sophisticated people presided over a dangerous build-up in financial risk suggests that something larger was at work than a naive faith in markets. Appelbaum’s strength is that he generally acknowledges these complexities.
The New York Times financial writer maps the advance of economists-from the Kennedy administration onward-out of the academy and into government, elevating free markets in the sausage-making of public policy and sparking the inequity that plagues us today.
Lively and entertaining . . . The Economists' Hour is a reminder of the power of ideas to shape the course of history.
Liaquat Ahamed New Yorker